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A recovery story

I’ve been seeing *Emily in therapy for four years. She has written her recovery story and agreed to have it posted.

I actually remember the first time I binged and purged. I was in eighth grade and we were at Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents’ house. My grandma used to make these huge elaborate meals, with like 5 or 6 different pies and all sorts of mashed potatoes and stuffing. My cousin Jenny, who is a year older than me, was there. She was like, everyone’s princess.  Everyone was soooo excited because Jenny had  made the cheerleading squad at her high school and she was in the homecoming court. Up until that year, me and Jenny had always sat there during Thanksgiving and giggle and eat all the pies together. But this year, she barely paid attention to me.  She wore these tight  jeans and kept her portions small. She was like a real teenager.  My mother looked at her admirably and said she was so proud of how beautiful Jenny had become. She also said that it was smart to watch her figure now that she was no longer a little girl. My mom then looked at me and said nothing as I scarfed down my third piece of pie. I had never really thought about it before. I mean that’s what we did on Thanksgiving. We ate my Grandma’s pies. Even my Grandma turned against me. “Eat less pie Emily! Be more like Jenny. Look how thin and gorgeous she is now!”  I felt horrible. My own (not name brand) jeans were unbuttoned to make room for my swollen belly and I felt how greasy my hair and skin had become.  After dinner, I excused myself to the bathroom and I don’t know how or why, but I began searching through the medicine cabinet. That’s when I saw the chocolate ex-lax. I knew what they did and I knew that I could use them to get rid of the pie. I don’t know how I knew to use them. I guess I’d heard of it somewhere… and so I took three pills. I remember thinking that I should take more than it said on the back, but I didn’t want anyone to notice that they were gone.  The laxatives kicked in that night. I sat up all night running to the bathroom. And although my stomach felt ravaged and I was in terrible pain, after my bathroom  trips, I would step on the scale and see how much weight I’d lost. It was amazing to me that the pounds were just dropping off. And that’s how it started.  Later that week, I made myself throw up after eating a milkshake and onion rings from Burger King.

And that was my descent into the dark years of bingeing, purging, taking laxatives, and starving myself. I kept trying to be more like my cousin Jenny who showed up at Thanksgiving every year more and more beautiful, with perfect grades, the captain of cheerleading, with a football player boyfriend. And me, I became more and more isolated. I had put on a lot of weight and I wore all black, smoked cigarettes and had kept my hair dyed black and pierced everything I could. I didn’t really have a boyfriend, though I did sleep with a lot of boys, but no one wanted to get serious with me. I kidded myself into thinking that I didn’t care. But I was depressed. Really depressed. I used to cut myself on the arms and legs sometimes, just so that I could emote because I felt, I believed that I was completely alone. My grandparents seemed to tolerate me, but didn’t have a lot of interest or pride in me. And my mother sort of seemed disgusted by me. She knew about my activities with boys and told me that I had no self-respect.  Food was a lot of what comforted me. I would eat full pizzas on my own after school and wash them down with diet cokes. I’d go days eating nothing, just drinking coffee and diet coke and eating pixie sticks to keep me going. Then I’d collapse, cut school and go to the donut store and eat a dozen donuts in the parking lot, wash them down with diet coke and laxatives, then throw up in the bathroom of the gas station, and then drive around town buying food to binge on and find gas station bathrooms to purge in.  I just wanted to be normal. I wanted to be like my cousin Jenny. I wanted people to love me and I wanted to be beautiful and cared for. I thought that if I could get thin enough, I’d be okay. But my bingeing and purging  continued all through high school, and shockingly, I still was able to get good enough grades to get into college.

I stopped purging in college, but became addicted to diet pills, marijuana, and sometimes even cocaine to keep me from eating. I finally lost all the weight I wanted to, but my body was breaking down. I suffered three fractures by the second semester of my sophomore year. I realized then that I had to stop with my eating disorder. But I couldn’t. I had no idea how to eat normally. I tried to eat three meals a day, but it always ended with me bingeing. I managed to stop purging, but I was still bingeing and then restricting. I did manage to graduate from college, but my grades really weren’t very good. I barely went to class and when I did, I didn’t pay attention or get much out of my classes. I really wasted my mother’s money.

After college, I tried a variety of things to help me lose weight. I tried different diets, I tried nutritionists, I tried a 12 step group with a food plan. But all of those things made me just binge when I fell off my food plans or diets.  Eventually, I decided to start seeing a therapist. I knew I had an eating disorder and was ready for help. It was really hard at first because I felt like my therapist just couldn’t help me with the thing I most needed help with– I wanted to lose weight, I wanted to stop bingeing. I told her to just tell me what to do and fix me. She gave me lots of assignments, many of them were about eating 3 meals a day, whatever I wanted, but I had to eat mindfully. She sent me to a nutritionist who specialized in treating eating disorders, and she also recommended that I see a psychiatrist to help me get some meds that might help with my depression.  I spent a lot of money. A serious amount of money between all those specialists. But I was desperate. 

Talking to my therapist really felt like a relief. We talked through a lot of the pain, depression, and through a lot of my childhood.  I realized that a lot of my eating disorder wasn’t about the food and it wasn’t about me getting thin. It was about me feeling really badly about myself. My Dad left my Mom and I when I was 5 years old, and I always thought it was my fault. The more I began to understand how I felt completely flawed my whole life, the more I understand that it was a myth– a story that I told myself. And that through that myth that I had conceptualized in my 5 year old mind, I began to act the way I believed I was. I tried desperately to get love and attention from men, but ultimately, I felt so worthless, that I let them treat me like crap– letting them have sex with me then ignore me the next day. My mother said I had no self respect, and she was right. But she never taught me how to respect myself. She never quite let me think I was worthy of love and admiration. I wasn’t any less smart or less beautiful than Jenny, I just believed I was. She had a mother and a father at home. I had no Dad and a Mom who was angry and felt rejected and resentful. She came into therapy with me several times as we discussed her own feelings of being worthless after my Dad left her for a much younger woman.   As I began to understand my own sense of worth, I started to try and take better care of myself. I learned to sit with my feelings, I learned to HOLD myself with respect. That was huge. I didn’t have to be super witty, nor did I have to do everything for everybody to make them like me. I didn’t have to be anything. I just had to respect myself. And so as I did, my eating disorder began to have less of a hold on me. As I talked through all those things, I realized that the drive to be thin was really just a drive to be accepted. So I learned to accept myself. It has been really hard for me to accept all those lost years, it’s like my whole teen years and most of my 20s were stolen by my eating disorder. But in learning to accept, I’m just trying to respectfully mourn those lost years.

I’ve been 100% free from any eating disorder behaviors since September 18th, 2010. That was the day before my 28th birthday. I am not afraid of Ed any longer. I know that I have the tools to work through whatever life should hand me. And if I do relapse, I know that I can’t lose the recovery that I have. 

*Name has been changed.

If you have a recovery story that you would like to be published, please send it to bingeeatingtherapy (at) gmail.com

How to Cope with Hurt Feelings

 

hurt feelings and binge eating

Do you ever eat when you have hurt feelings? Do you find yourself in the middle of a binge or emotionally eating? Do you ever come home or get off the phone with someone, and feeling sad and lonely, stressed or anxious, angry or overwhelmed, walk over to the refrigerator and unconsciously start eating until you feel badly about that instead of what you had originally felt bad about?

Dealing with hurt feelings through emotional eating is one of the ways that we learn to soothe ourselves. But there are other options. When you notice that you are hurt, know that this is a prime time for you to run to the kitchen. Remind yourself that you are at risk for bingeing and ask yourself if there are other things that you can do. Some ways to deal with hurt feelings or anger are:

1.)talking about them to someone else

2.)screaming into a pillow

3.)going for a long walk

4.)reminding yourself that you’ve done nothing wrong, or if that’s not the case, taking the steps that you need to apologize or correct the situation.

5.)take deep breath/meditate

6.)punch pillows

7.)give yourself a break, forgive yourself.

8.)write about it. get on a forum and discuss what happened with others.

How to beat stress eating– 50 ways to cope with stress without food

If you give a normal person a list of five things to do, they will get started with the first thing on their list. If you give a stress eater a list with five things to do, they will get started by running to the refrigerator. Eating becomes a way to deal with procrastination, fatigue, and powerlessness. After all, a big part of stress is really just a belief that you are completely powerless over a situation. Eating is the immediate response to the stressor. It’s the thing that stress eaters go to when they feel powerless over the stress. So, how to stop stress eating?

In 12 step groups, the serenity prayer says:

grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

  • Stop! Think about the source of your stress. Is this something that you can control?
  • Figure out what  you can control.
  • If there is nothing that you can do about the situation, you might simply have to accept it and all the consequences that come with it.
  • Deal with the consequences of accepting that you cannot change the situation at hand and take care of yourself around that
  • Are you stressing about something that hasn’t happened yet? Stop. Don’t live in the future or in the past. All that exists is the moment. Make the best choice that you can for the given moment.

Here is a list of 50 things that you can do when you’re stressed instead of eating:

(this list won’t have you running to the fridge)

1.)Organize yourself, figure out exactly what to do and execute a strategy for getting things done. If you are not good at this, ask a friend who is good at this stuff to help you.

2.)Take a bath

3.)Go for a walk

4.)Go to the gym

5.)Meditate

6.)Drink tea

7.)Call a friend and talk out what is going on with you.

8.)Write in your journal/blog

9.)Stretch or do yoga

10.)Zone out and watch a movie that you like

11.)Curl up with a good book

12.)Take your dog for a walk, or pet your cat if you have one

13.)Clean your house

14.)Do some volunteer work– get out of your head by helping some other people out. Serve food at a soup kitchen, volunteer to play with kids at a homeless shelter, walk dogs or play with cats at the local animal shelter.

15.)Buy a meal for a homeless person in your neighborhood and bring it to them

16.)Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time

17.)Call a much older relative or friend. The advice of people older than you with so much more life experience can be incredibly valuable.

18.)Listen to music that you can lose yourself in

19.)Get out of your apartment or house and be out in the world with people, don’t isolate

20.)Draw, paint, do something artistic

21.)Walk around the block then attack your to do list.

22.)Promise yourself a non-food reward for every thing you cross off your list, such as 10 minutes to zone out on the internet.

23.)Get a massage

24.)Take a shower

25.)Water your plants

26.)Find something to break, like sticks or branches you find outdoors.Rip up an old tee-shirt. Anything that can feel cathartic and release some tension. Just don’t hurt anyone.

27.)Relax your jaw. Your jaw is the strongest muscle in your body and because of that, you hold a lot of stress in it. Massage your jaw muscles and try to relax them.

28.)Cry

29.)Scream into a pillow

30.)Dance

31.)Go to a spin class, kickboxing class, or to the boxing gym– something that exerts energy

32.)Go for a drive through a neighborhood that you like

33.)Go out to a movie

34.)Smell flowers

35.)Color hard with crayons– releases stress

36.)Garden

37.)Go to the beach and look at the ocean

38.)Think about people you love, call them, tell them your woes or don’t tell them your woes, just connecting can be healing

39.)Paint your toenails

40.)Window shop

41.)Play a musical instrument

42.)Make Love

43.)Write or read affirmations.

44.)Give yourself a foot massage

45.)Go for a good run!

46.)Write kind notes or emails to people for no reason

47.)Walk outside and smile at 10 strangers

48.)Write a letter to your higher self or your higher power or the Universe…

49.)Slowly inhale  to the count of 5 then exhale  to the count of 5. Do this for 5 minutes.

50.)Let it go.

Need more ideas? See 101 Things to Do Instead of Binge Eating

Coming up Next— how to deal with the things that you actually CAN change, but somehow can’t find the will to. 

When food is the third person in your relationship

triangulating food into your relationshipSome couples are drinking buddies. That is, they spend a lot of time going to bars together, or drinking at home together and alcohol becomes a big part of their relationship.  Often these couples aren’t exactly sure what they’d do together if alcohol wasn’t accessible.  Other  couples are eating buddies. Their relationship revolves around food and eating. They plan elaborate vacations where food and restaurants are at the center of their itineraries, they cook big elaborate meals together, they eat out together.

Then, there are couples where the obsession with food permeates every part of the relationship. They buy binge foods and sit home alone bingeing together rather than in private. They diet together, vowing to stay away from certain foods, then, as diets most often do, they fail together and begin bingeing together. The eating disorder becomes triangulated into their relationship. In family therapy, the concept of triangulation occurs when there is some kind of unspoken, unacknowledged conflict between two people. They then use a third person to mitigate that conflict. In this case, the person is the binge eating disorder.

When food is triangulated into a relationship, the couple will find that most of their conversations revolve around food–what they’re eating, when they’re going to eat, what they’re going to eat. They might also have a great deal of conversations that revolve around their bodies and how to “fix” them. Couples who triangulate food into their relationship will find that most of their social activities with each other revolve around food and food related events. They will also find that if there is something going on in the relationship, some kind of conflict or something that one of them or both of them are unhappy about, that they will avoid the subject and try to get closer by isolating as a couple and eating together.

If one partner begins to recover in a relationship like this, it can often be challenging for the other partner, who could then feel threatened as they lose their partner in crime. It can also bring forth all the conflict that has been stuffed and avoided with food. Sometimes, partners find that without eating and food, they don’t have much in common with each other.

How to Figure out if food is triangulated into your relationship.

  • Are you and your partner obsessed with food?
  • Do you often do events together that don’t revolve around food?
  • Do you binge and then vow to go on diets together then binge again? Is this a cycle?
  • Are you afraid that without eating, the two of you wouldn’t have much in common?
  • Are their things in your relationship that go unspoken about?
  • Does one of you become threatened if the other begins a healthy lifestyle regimen?
  • Does one of you unconsciously try to sabotage the other when they begin a healthy lifestyle regimen, ie: bringing them binge foods or taking them to a restaurant where the food can be a binge trigger?

If this sounds familiar, some steps that you can take to detriangulate your relationship are:

  • Talking about your feelings more with each other. When you each get home from work, take time to discuss your days with one another.
  • Begin to notice what role food plays in your relationship, for instance, if it’s a Friday night and you’ve already eaten dinner, but one of you decides that getting a pint of ice cream would be a good idea, discuss what it is that you’re avoiding. Are you disinterested in being alone together without food? Are you afraid of what you would talk about or afraid that you might not have anything to talk about?
  • Try to integrate some non food activities into your relationship, like going to museums or art openings, or taking walks or some kind of (non cooking) lesson together.

Free Food! But at what cost?

Then, there’s the free food phenomena. This is a binge eaters Achilles Heel. It sets up not just temptation, but a moral dilemma, “is it okay for me to waste this food?” There are many free food situations that get set up. But you have to look at the real cost in free food. Such as “if I eat this, will it set up a binge later?” “will I binge on this because it’s free?” “Is this unhealthy for me to be eating in quantity?”

There is the hidden cost involved with free food, and one that comes with a price tag that is much higher than the food. What will happen if you begin eating the free food? Ask yourself the following questions before you start.

1.)What is the cost/benefit analysis of eating this food?

2.)If I eat this food, just because it is free will I be happy?

3.)Will I be happier in the long term if I eat this free food?

4.)What are the consequences of eating this?

5.)After I am finished with the food, what might happen?

6.)If I eat this free food, will I be able to eat it moderately or will I begin to eat it compulsively?

7.)Will eating this food trigger a binge?

8.)If so, will I wind up bingeing for the rest of the day/night or for several more days?

9.)Will eating this food cause me to purge?

10.)If  I don’t eat this food, will I feel badly?

11.)Will I feel worse if I don’t eat this food than if I do?

Here are some common free food situations and ways to counter them.

Scenario: Babysitting

Situation: The parents have left tons of ice cream, candy, chips, cookies, cake, and other types of food and  junkfood for you to snack on while you’re there.

How to Deal: No matter how old you are, babysitting can be a trigger. You are at home alone, with very little to do and a whole open refrigerator full of free and new food. Before you go to babysit, have a plan. You might put a boundary on yourself saying that won’t eat anything there at all and eat a healthy nutritious dinner before you go. If it’s an all day thing or a time that will coincide with your dinner, you can pack healthy meals to bring with you. If the kids are eating meals that you are likely to binge on, or are likely to trigger a binge (most often I hear mac-n-cheese or pizza) simply decide that you are going to have something different. While you are there, make sure that you have a great book, or a great movie for after the kids are asleep. You might even ask the parents if it’s okay for you to have a friend over. If so, bring a safe friend who won’t engage in binge eating behaviors with you and bring games to play after the kids go to sleep.  If not, let someone know that you want to avoid binge eating have a friend to talk to and check in with while you are there. Bring something to do with your hands, like crafts to do with the kids, or knitting or jewelry making. Make sure to set your intention before you go there that you are not going to engage in binge eating there. The intention you set and the strategies that you set up will help you to refrain from acting out in eating disorder behaviors.

Scenario: Upgrade to First Class

Situation: You are fortunately upgraded to first class on a  long flight. With that comes unlimited drinks and food and as many snack packs as you want. Even though you ate a good meal before you got on the flight, you find that it’s hard to refuse the free food, despite the fact that you are not hungry.

How To Deal: Check in with yourself to figure out whether you are hungry or not. If you are not, let the flight attendant know that you are not ready to eat yet and ask if you might be able to save your meal for later in the flight when you are hungry. If you do choose to drink, don’t have more than one drink. People tend to drink a great deal on long flights and this can be dangerous. You might become dehydrated and get a headache, then feel miserable when you land. Think about what might happen if you choose to overeat or drink a lot on the flight. If you do, will you land feeling ready for your visit or to come home and get back to work/school? Again, this is a cost/benefit analysis. Will eating and drinking make you feel better or worse in the long run? There are many other ways to make a long flight pleasurable besides eating and drinking, and it’s nice to land feeling strong and healthy rather than uncomfortable, bloated, headachey and sick.

Scenario: Food Basket

Situation: Christmas, Get Well, Easter, Thanksgiving… whatever! Someone has sent you a basket full of binge foods.

How To Deal: Be honest with yourself about whether or not you will be able  to have them in your house to eat moderately. If not, regift it. Give it away, donate it, bring it to a homeless shelter, or a homeless person, or a friend.

Scenario: Free Pizza Party

Situation: You arrive at work/school and find that your class or team has won a free pizza party for whatever, but you know that pizza is either a binge food or a trigger food for you (a trigger food is one that you eat that you won’t necessarily binge on, but will trigger a binge later).

How To Deal: Again, think of the cost benefit analysis. Will you feel better or worse if you eat the pizza. Can you eat one or two slices and stop? Can you eat one or two slices without bingeing afterwards? Can you stop at one or two slices? If the answer is no to these questions, refuse the pizza and instead stick with lunch that you had planned. Is saving $5-$10 for lunch worth the way you are going to feel if you trigger a binge?

Scenario: Home to visit the parents

Situation: Parents house is completely full of junkfood. You are stressed out being at home– all the old feelings of your childhood have come up. You want to binge after they go to sleep.

How To Deal: Remember that you are no longer a  kid and that you do have control. You can choose exactly what you want to eat, whether you want to binge or not, and what time you go to sleep. The food in their house won’t make you feel better, but it will trigger the old binge cycle. Tell yourself the first night that you are not going to touch the junkfood, but if you want to the next night, you can.  See how you feel when you wake up the next morning. If you remember waking up in the past feeling full and uncomfortable and full of shame, notice how nice it is to wake up feeling well rested and comfortable in your body. If you choose to eat the junk food that night, make sure that you have a healthy dinner and choose one or two small things to eat. When you eat, do it slowly and mindfully. Check in, are you doing this to shut down? If so, try to stay conscious. Try to eat slowly and actually taste what you are actually eating. You will find that you are more satisfied with a small bit of the food than you are when you binge on it or compulsively stuff it down your throat.

Scenario: Someone is taking you out to dinner

Situation: You are invited out to dinner by a friend who wants to take you to a place where the food is unhealthy and triggering. They urge you to order foods that you know will trigger a binge.

How to Deal: Don’t go to the restaurant very hungry. Understand that you don’t have to eat to make anyone else happy. You eat to feed yourself. You don’t have to eat something that will make you feel uncomfortable or trigger a binge later. It’s okay to say, “no, actually I don’t want to order the macaroni and cheese or the s’mores pie…” or whatever your mate wants you to order that you know will hurt you. Tell them that because they are so excited for you to try that,  you would love a sample of theirs, but you really are in the mood for something different. You never have to eat something to make someone feel better. You are not responsible for other people’s reactions, only your own.

Scenario: Happy hour- free bar snacks with drinks

Situation: You go for drinks after work with your friends and they are giving out free wings, mini eggrolls, chips, dips, ribs, pizza rolls, whatever! It’s free so it’s enticing, but you also know that it isn’t a proper dinner and if you get started you won’t stop.

How to Deal: Really, stop after one drink and have soda water. It’s very difficult to turn down free salty food when under the influence. Don’t stay too late and remember that you will feel better if you don’t drink or eat too much. Think about how free food is not necessarily good food. It’s unhealthy, and probably not prepared very well. It’s probably nothing more than microwaved or deep fried boxed foods, worth very little money. Again, let’s say you eat $$8.00 worth of free food. Then you feel yucky afterwards, did you actually save $8.00? Not really, the cost of feeling ill is much more than you saved. Decide that you are going to save your appetite for a proper dinner.

Scenario: Expensive All You Can Eat Buffet

Situation: You are in Las Vegas and it’s suggested that you go to the Bellagio for their Brunch Buffet. You pay $60 for the all you can eat buffet, but once you get there, you realize that all you really want is an omelet and some fruit salad. You become upset because you realize that you are going to have to pay all that money for a very small amount of food. What do you do?

How To Deal: This is a tough one. It’s really challenging to know that you paid that much money for a couple of eggs and a piece of melon. So here’s where you have to begin to think. What is my $60 worth here? Is it worth the company of my friends? Can I tell my friends that I’ll meet them afterwards and to enjoy their brunch? If not, can I enjoy the company without without bingeing? Can I eat slowly and moderately? If I pay $60 and I binge, is that okay? Did I pay all that money for yummy food or did I pay all that money to do something that made me feel horrible? These are things to think about carefully. If you feel horrible after the buffet, than that was not worth the $60.  You can sample some things, but eat slowly and really taste and appreciate your food. Don’t turn it into a race to make back your money. Try to enjoy the environment, the company, and the food.

Binge! How to Stop Binge Eating

How To Stop Binge Eating

Welcome to the first post of my brand new blog RECOVER. This blog is dedicated to everyone I’ve worked with over the years to help battle binge eating and bulimia and help them find their inner wisdom and inner peace to eventually come to a place of freedom around food. It’s not an easy journey, but ultimately a meaningful one that brings years and years of positivity and joy to a life that otherwise could have felt dedicated to the pursuit of both thinness and food. You deserve more in your life. You deserve a full life and you deserve to be in the world. And the world deserves more of YOU. More of your light, your wisdom and your being in the world, not locked away in a prison of your own mind, of your own thoughts of “I’ll be better when…” you are perfect, whole and complete right now! I hope in this blog to bring lots of value and useful information for you on how to stop binge eating and how to reclaim yourself.  Now, without further ado, I bring you my very first blog post (with promises of many more to come):
How to Stop Binge Eating 

Has it ever happened to you? It’s day 1 of your diet. Again. You have the best intentions, you’re finally going to lose that weight and be thin and happy and now your life will be perfect. Your first day goes great. You’ve stuck to your plan 100%. Maybe another day or two goes by and then, all of a sudden, you do something “wrong”. You eat a cookie, a potato chip, it doesn’t matter what it is, it’s something that defies the rigid rules you’ve set up for yourself. And then, before you know it, there you are in the middle of a binge.
You’re not necessarily enjoying it, but it all happens so fast that it seems as though you were possessed by some kind of binge monster! You’re eating furiously, anything you can get your hands on. Foods that you don’t even necessarily care about normally, but you can’t stop. You’re eating and eating and eating and you can’t even taste the food. It feels like it’s going down at 100 miles per hour, and you still can’t seem to stop yourself.
And then. There you are. Full. Disgusted. Ashamed. Angry at yourself. Depressed. So what do you do? Do you call yourself self-deprecating names? Do you turn to food to help you numb out the feelings of being disappointed in yourself or even worse, hating yourself? Do you punish yourself by restricting? Do you purge the calories by over exercising, taking laxatives or vomiting?

It doesn’t have to be this way! You can be free from the cycle of obsessive dieting and compulsive eating. The following steps will help get you on the road to recovery.

Step 1: Delete the Word “Diet” from Your Vocabulary
Kinda scary, huh? Many people think that if they cease to diet, that they will lose control completely. But for many, it’s liberating.
Dieting sets up a precedent that’s very difficult to stick to. Diets often recommend that we eat only a certain amount of calories per day, some suggest that we cut out whole food groups such as carbohydrates. If these rules are somehow broken, it’s possible to feel like a failure, many people feel as though they messed up the whole day and thus to go to the other extreme and binge with the idea that they can compensate by going back on their diet the next day.
Deleting the word diet does not mean that you are giving up your aspirations of healthfulness. This is about self-acceptance and recovery. You can accept yourself as you are in the moment AND do things to help yourself to become healthy.

Step 2: Get to Know Yourself
Keeping a food and feelings journal is tremendously helpful. This enables you to understand when and why you binge. Perhaps you got some bad news on the phone, or you had some kind of mini-traumatic event at work, maybe you ran into a person who triggered some bad feelings that you have about yourself. It’s difficult to know. Many people aren’t even aware of why they are feeling bad. Keeping a journal can help you to know what triggers your binges. Write down everything that you eat for 2-3 weeks. In the margins, write how you were feeling. If you binge, write that down as well. Write down things that happened that day, write down what happened before the binge. Write down how you felt after the binge. You are becoming an investigative journalist uncovering truths about yourself. This kind of self-knowledge will help you understand and recognize your triggers and thus enable you to find options to stop a binge before they begin.

Step 3: Increase your Capacity to sit with Uncomfortable Feeling

Many people will compulsively eat or diet soothe themselves, but how are you wounding yourself? Is it with unkind words? Is it with food? Is it with restrictive dieting? If you find yourself going for the food, first ask yourself, “am I hungry?” if not, what else might be going on? “Am I angry? Am I tired? Am I lonely? Am I bored?” Set a timer and see if you can go ten minutes without the binge. During these ten minutes, write about your feelings. Make a phone call to a loving, supportive, safe person, or just sit alone and allow yourself feel the uncomfortable feeling. As you learn to sit with uncomfortable feelings, set the timer for longer. As the weeks go on, you’ll be surprised at how long you might be able to postpone a binge. At first it might be moments, but eventually it will grow to hours, then days, then weeks.

Step 4: Re-learn Your Cues for Hunger and Satiety

Children know when they are hungry and when they are full. However, the nurturing mother, in her attempts to nourish her child will usually distrust the child’s internal cues and force the child to take “just one more bite,” or to “clean your plate.” Clearly, these suggestions were made with the best of intentions, however, many people grow up not trusting their own instincts about hunger and wind up eating whatever is on their plate regardless of whether they are hungry or not. In the beginning of your recovery, it might be important to eat by the clock to ensure that you are eating your three meals per day, however, it is important to figure out when you are hungry and when you aren’t.
This hunger/satiety scale can help you to relearn your cues of hunger. During at least one meal per day, rate yourself before your meal, half way through your meal and at the end of your meal to figure out where on the scale you are. Put your fork down, sit quietly, close your eyes and tune into your body to see where you are, then rate yourself using the following scale.

1 = You are starving, you have a headache, are dizzy, indecisive
2 = You are quite hungry, you are unable to concentrate
3 = You are feeling hungry and are ready to eat
4 = You are beginning to feel signals of hunger
5 = You are feeling neutral, neither hungry or full.
6 = You are feeling satiated and satisfied
7 = You feel full
8 = You feel stuffed
9 = You feel uncomfortably full,
10= You are stuffed, feeling sick, having to unbutton your pants.

Try to not to allow yourself to go below a 3 and try to stop eating before you get to a 7. It’s important not to let yourself get too hungry. Allow yourself to snack on high protein foods such as string cheese or yogurt during the day so that you are not ravenous when meal times come. This will help to prevent bingeing.

Step 6: Get Support
Many people recover with the help of therapist, group therapy or a 12-step program such as Overeaters Anonymous or Eating Disorders Anonymous.
Many people use both. Having people who are going through similar recovery can be very comforting. The support is invaluable and having someone to turn to who is going through the same thing as you are is a great way to talk through your feelings and figure out what is going on instead of turning to the food for support.

Step 5: Give Yourself Some Love, You Deserve It
Be patient and loving with yourself. Progress is not linear. Many compulsive eaters are looking for a quick fix. For every accomplishment it is possible to experience a set back. But these set backs can be great information and learning experiences to find a way to do things differently. Each binge can give you information about yourself. Recovery time is slower and more methodical. It takes time to unlearn all the negative feelings that we have established about ourselves and do undo all the false beliefs that we have about ourselves. Repeating daily affirmations are amazing for combating such beliefs.
Some people say things such as “I love myself no matter what,” or “I am loved, loving, capable and strong,” each night several times as they’re falling asleep. It can feel difficult or uncomfortable or untrue at first. Do it anyway. It’s necessary to have ammunition against the voices that are giving you negative messages about yourself. Don’t let them win.